The colder, ‘fresher’ mornings are making getting up for morning rides increasingly more difficult. But are we getting soft? Oli remembers the days gone by when he used to ride Tokai at 5am in the rain in nothing but bibs and a shirt.
- By Oli Munnik
I doubt I am the only oke in South Africa wishing their eyes were deceiving them when they flicker open to reveal pitch black darkness inside and outside. I’m not talking about the nutters (read legends) on dawn patrol, who leave for their rides at 4:30am! I am talking about waking up at something to 8am and being greeted by what feels like the dead of night. It can only mean one thing: Winter is here!
More often than not, I wake up seconds before my alarm is scheduled to kick into action. Sound familiar?! This skill saves me from the traumatic experience of being woken by my alarm clock. However, in Sea Point, my home now for the past 7 months, there is something worse than waking up to darkness. And that is the constant shrieking of 356 seagulls on the Checkers roof. Bloody hell, I wouldn’t hesitate to join a ‘persuade the seagulls to live somewhere else’ campaign! Obviously they’d be persuaded to relocate, and not bludgeoned to death! I was thinking along the lines of making them do 40sec-on/20sec-off intervals behind Charles Keey up Kloof Nek Road. That ought to keep the irritating buggers out of breath for at least a week! Perhaps this would convince the irksome birds to twitter away and become someone else’s problem. Sea Point would never quite be the same again.
Along with the darkness, later sunrises also mean fresher mornings. (A pessimist would say colder, an optimist would say fresher, while a realist would just stay in bed and hold onto the person lying next them!) Fresh mornings often remind me of a harrowing time in my life. A time when quality technical cycling apparel just wasn’t available in South Africa. Those were the days of meeting up with Shan ‘the General’ Wilson at 5am in Tokai, in the pissing rain in nothing but a shirt and bib shorts. There is no harder school than the Shan Wilson squad.
In hindsight, rolling with the general all those years ago taught me that having anything to keep you warm was a luxury, and to be appreciated. I made it out alive and have been promoted to the full shooting match: I’m now living the dream in full finger gloves, gillets, arm and leg warmers and even a pimping Adidas rain coat! Rad!
I hate to think of what the true old school pinners used to roll in, wool and who knows what else … hard-men they were! Talking of hard-men, I am gonna be spending a few days in the saddle, this coming week, with one of the true old school brigade. None other than Andrew Mclean, the Master who didn’t get the memo to slow down! He and I are going to be riding the Sani2C together. The partnership arose after his original partner, Mr Shan Wilson, crashed, badly injuring himself. Andrew will be riding in the colours of CycleLab Toyota while, after a successful Jobeg2C, I will be keeping it pinned in the GoPro SA strip. I will also be catching all the action on my two HD Hero2 cameras.
The Sani2C certainly needs no introduction. It is an institution on the South African Mountain Biking calendar. I’m stoked to be getting involved in what will be my 4th start in Underberg. I suppose all that is left to say is that Andrew and I are ready to rock ‘n roll on some of the raddest trails in SA!
Keep it pinned
Oli is currently living the dream as a professional mountain biker, racing for the GT squad based out of Cape Town. Keep up with Oli on his blog http://olivermunnik.wordpress.com